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PRESS Restaurant Highlights the Best of Napa Valley

PRESS Wine Director Vincent Morrow in the PRESS Cellar. Photo by Bonjwing Lee

With 10,000+ bottles of wine in its collection, nearly all Napa Valley derived, PRESS Restaurant is an abundantly beautiful representation of its wine country environ. The collection - neatly stacked within three glass-walled wine cellars -  includes well known labels as well as the more obscure, in both current and decades old vintages that invite exploration. You won’t find as great a Napa Valley assemblage anywhere. PRESS is where you’ll discover both old and new favorites, expertly selected by the knowledgeable sommeliers to pair perfectly with your culinary choices. Even for the most wine savvy, PRESS always offers a few surprises. 

But those surprises are not relegated only to wine discovery. Partner and executive chef Philip Tessier, formerly of Michelin-starred Le Bernardin, Per Se in New York, and The French Laundry in Yountville, ensures that PRESS’s cuisine shares equally in the restaurant’s plaudits. Tessier (the first American chef to medal at the internationally renowned Bocuse d’Or) strives to create a menu that reveals a vibrant representation of the region. He partners with like-minded purveyors to craft seasonal and varied menus that are modern, refined, and on par with the commanding caliber of the wines in the cellar. He and his culinary team draw inspiration from around the globe while staying rooted in the style and ingredients that make the Napa Valley so special.

PRESS Executive Chef Philip Tessier. Photo by Bonjwing Lee

Stand-out offerings include delicately intricate fruits de mer inspired appetizers, such as Golden Osetra Caviar served atop a shrimp blini enrobed in Jamon Mangalista, Smoked Sea Scallop served with Chinese broccoli, fried chestnut, and Shinko pear, and Braised Abalone with pickled cucumber and ponzu. Second course stars include the Instagram-worthy Seeded Pretzel Epi with whipped fromage blanc, Lobster-Kuri Bisque with toasted pumpkin seeds and a bite of poached lobster, and the ethereal, melt-in-your-mouth Ricotta Gnudi. For mains, PRESS has long been well known for its beef program, and the three current beef options maintain the restaurant’s status in that regard. A tender American Wagyu Ribeye Cap, a 35-day New York Strip, and a 60-day Tomahawk will please any steak enthusiast. Equally enthralling are the seafood options: Yellowfin Tuna with Sea Buckthorn butter, Steelhead Trout with butternut squash and smoked lovage cream, and Brown-Butter Lobster with herbed pasta and creamed spinach. But whatever your choice, don’t miss the White Truffle Risotto with Parmigiano Reggiano, truffle mousse, and a generous tableside shaving of the prized, aromatic fungi.   

Fruits de Mer Inspired Appetizers. Photo by John Troxell
White Truffle Risotto. Photo by John Troxell

Wine director Vincent Morrow matches his wine list to pair seamlessly with Tessier’s vibrant dishes. While his wine program remains a reflection of Napa Valley and the preservation of its Cabernet-rich heritage, Morrow strives to tackle the ‘other’ category – special, older wines from unique vineyards, painstakingly preserved by multi-generational families. For all of the wines represented in his program, Morrow’s focus is to understand the vineyard, the growers, the winemaker, and the vintage behind each, and he and his team are eager to share that knowledge with customers. 

PRESS Bar. Photo by Fran Miller
PRESS Outdoor Dining. Photo by Eric Wolfinger

Located in charming St. Helena with views of the Mayacamas Mountains, PRESS was designed by the renowned Howard Backen in his signature farmhouse-chic style. Architect of many of Napa Valley’s most stunning properties, Backen framed the vine-covered hillside via large picture windows that illuminate the space with natural light. A large brick hearth, above which an historic turn-of-the-century glazed terracotta clock is perched, anchors and illuminates the dining room. A twinkle-lit, fireplace-warmed outdoor garden and patio accommodate al fresco dining.

For the locals, visitors, winemakers, vintners, and gourmands that continue to place PRESS on its rightful pedestal, the restaurant is a communal gathering spot – one that continues to exude founder Leslie Rudd’s vision of offering the best of Napa Valley. PRESS is an ideal spot in which to taste one’s way through the rich history of this captivating wine country region.

587 St. Helena Highway, St. Helena, CA 

Fran Endicott Miller

Fran Endicott Miller is a luxury focused freelance feature writer for a variety of lifestyle publications and websites, editor-at-large for JustLuxe.com, and a California editor for luxury travel concierge service Essentialist. Prior to her journalism career she held positions in the fields of politics, television, and professional sports, and is proud to have established the Golden State Warriors...(Read More)

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